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Public School's Computer Labs Underfunded

B

Baphomet

Jan 1, 1970
0
Footing the Bill for the Computer Lab

November 6, 2003
By JEFFREY SELINGO

New York Times

FOR Nancy Couto, the director of technology for the Armada
school district in suburban Detroit, walking into a
computer lab at the high school is like stepping back in
time. There, beat-up machines still run Windows 95 and
barely chug along on 120-megahertz processors and 16
megabytes of memory, a tiny fraction of what even the most
basic new desktop comes with these days.

It has been seven years since voters approved a bond issue
that bought many of the 750 computers that sit in nine labs
across the district today. With a bare-bones budget and
school officials unwilling to ask voters to borrow money
again, Ms. Couto has had to scavenge parts from dead
computers to repair problems with the machines that are
still hanging on.

"They're so old we can't even buy parts for them anymore,"
Ms. Couto said. "I tell teachers not to shut them down
after class. It takes five minutes just to boot them back
up, and when you're in class, you just don't have that kind
of time."

With states facing big budget deficits because of a long
period of weak economic growth, public schools have been
forced to tighten their spending, often choosing to pay
only for basic services and not for what they see as luxury
items, like new computers. One result is outmoded equipment
that makes it hard for teachers to use technology in their
lessons or to engage students who have become accustomed to
faster computers at home.

Rather than wait for the budget situation to improve, some
cash-strapped schools are asking for money from parents'
groups - including foundations established expressly to
help pay for technology purchases - to buy computers. Other
districts are looking for donations of used equipment from
local businesses and colleges.

"The bar is higher for technology in the schools," said
Peter Grunwald, president of Grunwald Associates, a
consulting firm in Burlingame, Calif., that focuses on
school technology. "They are operating in an environment of
expectations that is formed by students who get to play
with everything in their own homes."

The budget cuts, which have also reduced dollars for
support staffs and teacher training, could not have come at
a worse time, Mr. Grunwald said. "School districts were
finally turning their attention to how to use all this
stuff in the classroom."

Outdated computers are usually acceptable for the lower
grades, where they can be used for basic tasks like word
processing. But teaching advanced applications to older
students with aging machines is nearly impossible. Thomas
Watchorn, a computer teacher at the middle school in Ms.
Couto's district, said he had given up on the desktop
computers in his lab for video editing or Web design. On
most days, he is happy if the machines simply function. "I
never have 30 computers that exactly work the way they are
supposed to," he said. Screen colors change unexpectedly,
programs shut down without warning, and machines crash.

One of the labs in Armada Middle School is so riddled with
problems that the computers there are not used at all. Mr.
Watchorn said he wondered how long it would be before his
lab suffered the same fate. "If we're lucky, maybe two more
years," he said.

Given the conditions under which school computers operate -
multiple users throughout the day, some of them less than
gentle - the machines never last as long as the average
home or office desktop. Ideally, schools need to replace
equipment at least every four to five years, school
technology directors agree. But that schedule is usually
only met with an infusion of cash, typically through a bond
issue for technology or for a new school.

Nearly half the 1,100 computers in the public schools in
Fitchburg, Mass., are less than four years old, thanks to
money furnished to build a new high school that opened
there in 2000. But the warranty on the high school
computers expires in June, and "then we'll be in real
trouble," said Art Newcombe, the district's director of
technology.

Elsewhere in the district, most of the computers are five
to seven years old. Mr. Newcombe's budget has been cut by
$200,000, or 84 percent, over the last three years, and
many of the technology grants he has received are for
teacher training, not new equipment.

Like technology directors in other districts, Mr. Newcombe
is trying to get more out of what he has by relying on
networked computers. Instead of buying new desktops, some
schools have opted to buy servers, which cost about $5,000
each and provide the needed disk space for 40 or 50
outdated computers, as well as a connection to a common
printer. "Servers expand the life of our computers and give
us more versatility," Mr. Newcombe said.

Even so, with state lawmakers looking to pinch every dollar
possible, putting budgets in constant flux, some school
officials are reluctant to begin the often long process of
purchasing new equipment. In New York last year, for
instance, Gov. George E. Pataki proposed eliminating a
state program that provided as much as 50 percent of the
cost of new computers. The legislature later preserved the
program, but not before some school districts decided to
delay their technology plans.

"A lot of schools were in no man's land," said Pete Reilly,
the director of the Lower Hudson Regional Information
Center, a consortium of 62 school districts north of New
York City. "Without that state money, there was no way they
could have afforded to buy that equipment."

Faced with that uncertainty, many schools have decided to
bypass state and local lawmakers altogether to subsidize
their technology purchases. Some have turned to their own
private nonprofit foundations, a new kind of parent
organization that has gained in popularity in recent years,
particularly in wealthier districts. The foundations help
pay for items like playground equipment, music and art
classes and technology.

The Mount Laurel Public Education Fund in New Jersey, for
example, donates $30,000 annually to the Mount Laurel
school district, most of which is used for technology.
"Sure the schools could survive without our money, but you
could always have better equipment and better education,"
said Kevin Scarborough, the president of the foundation. It
was created in 1994 and raises most of its funds from an
annual golf tournament. Now its leaders are considering art
and sports-memorabilia auctions to increase their donation
to the schools. "Quite frankly, the better the education
system, the better the town, the better the property
values," Mr. Scarborough said.

Although the money from the parents foundation is a drop in
the district's $900,000 annual technology budget, "it's
something I count on every year," said Ken Ruhland, an
assistant superintendent in Mount Laurel. Because the
donation, which this year paid for interactive whiteboards,
comes in the fall, well after the district has planned its
other computer purchases, it allows officials to buy "the
latest in technology," Mr. Ruhland said.

In other districts, officials are looking for donations of
used equipment. When elected officials in the town of
Mansfield, Mass., opposed a $200,000 request for new
computers last year, Lincoln Lynch, the assistant
superintendent of the 5,000-student school district, sent
300 letters to colleges and businesses in the region asking
for their old machines. He has since received 346
computers. Students and local retirees refurbished about
250 of them and placed them in classrooms and labs, with
the rest used for spare parts.

To control the cost of overhauling the used computers - a
factor that leads many schools to refuse to accept
second-hand computers - Mr. Lynch limits his donations to
Pentium II computers in groups of 12 or more. "We need
computers, businesses and colleges need to get rid of
hazardous waste, and colleges need students to be trained
using the latest technology," said Mr. Lynch, who estimates
that he has saved at least $150,000 by using donated
machines. "To me, it's a win-win situation."

But not everyone sees it that way. Howie Schaffer of the
Public Education Network, which coordinates community
groups involved with schools, said that gifts from
foundations and donations of used equipment allow schools
to shirk their duties. "The fact of the matter is they are
taking away a very critical district responsibility, and it
will be almost impossible to give it back to them," Mr.
Schaffer said.
 
B

Bob Masta

Jan 1, 1970
0
Footing the Bill for the Computer Lab

November 6, 2003
By JEFFREY SELINGO

New York Times

<content snipped>

This is an issue I have a hard time with. On the one
hand, do we really want to devote precious school time to teaching
video editing and the latest cool apps? It seems today's
kids have trouble just learning Readin, Ritin, and Rithmetic.
Maybe they could learn Photoshop in college, say?

On the other hand, there are certainly plenty who will
never go on to college. You could make a good case
that they should learn about Email, Web access, and
word processing just to compete for the entry-level
jobs. And for those who _do_ go on to college, they
will need these skill to survive there.

I guess this is the same old lament I've had about
engineering schools: Every year there is more new
technology that students are expected to know about
when they graduate. Since a degree program is of
finite duration, something else has to go. I'm an
old-timer; when I was starting out, they had just
dropped vacuum tubes from the EE curriculum in
order to devote more time to solid state. From what
I've heard these days, graduates can't bias a
transistor amplifier. The argument could be that
"They don't need to. Nobody uses that old stuff
any more; they just use a chip as a functional block".
But it still pains me to see this knowledge slip away.

So, are we going to extend this to grade school math
and reading? "They just use calculators/computers
for the math. And who reads any more, anyway?
Hey, you can get all you need to know from the TV!"

And don't get me started on science and government
classes... it's clear they dropped those a long time ago!


Bob Masta
dqatechATdaqartaDOTcom

D A Q A R T A
Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
www.daqarta.com
 
D

Dr. Anton Squeegee

Jan 1, 1970
0
<content snipped>

This is an issue I have a hard time with. On the one
hand, do we really want to devote precious school time to teaching
video editing and the latest cool apps? It seems today's
kids have trouble just learning Readin, Ritin, and Rithmetic.
Maybe they could learn Photoshop in college, say?

<snip>

I could not agree more. Cliff Stoll has already gone into great
lengths about this issue in his books 'Silicon Snake Oil' and 'The High-
Tech Heretic.'

With the possible exception of some word processing, save the
computers for college. It's far more critical, I think, that grade
schools teach reading, writing, math, critical thinking, logic, etc.

Computers are tools, not crutches. Let's keep it that way.


--
Dr. Anton Squeegee, Director, Dutch Surrealist Plumbing Institute
(Known to some as Bruce Lane, KC7GR)
kyrrin a/t bluefeathertech d-o=t c&o&m
Motorola Radio Programming & Service Available -
http://www.bluefeathertech.com/rf.html
"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati" (Red Green)
 
J

Jim Thompson

Jan 1, 1970
0
On Sat, 8 Nov 2003 09:24:11 -0800, Dr. Anton Squeegee

[snip]
____________________________________________________________
| |
| Computers are tools, not crutches. Let's keep it that way. |
|____________________________________________________________|

Marvelously put!

...Jim Thompson
 
D

Dimitrij Klingbeil

Jan 1, 1970
0
Baphomet said:
Footing the Bill for the Computer Lab

November 6, 2003
By JEFFREY SELINGO

New York Times

FOR Nancy Couto, the director of technology for the Armada
school district in suburban Detroit, walking into a
computer lab at the high school is like stepping back in
time. There, beat-up machines still run Windows 95 and
barely chug along on 120-megahertz processors and 16
megabytes of memory, a tiny fraction of what even the most
basic new desktop comes with these days.
<remaining content snipped>

An issue not only to the US of A. Here in Berlin/Germany the situation is
pretty much the same, but it extends also to universities. I'm studying
computer science at the TU (Technical University) Berlin and having to work
with outdated Sun Microsystems workstations best compared to 16MB 486s has
been so far one of my everyday experiences. There are some much faster
terminal servers, but since they are too few for the number of students,
there are times when one has to wait even to get access to one of the
slowest workstations where a basic ASCII Text Editor can take up to half a
minute to start up while working with graphics (except viewing very small
ones in a read-only preview) is near to impossible and PDF documents take
approx. 5 seconds to open each page. Disk space quotas of 60MB per user
including settings and system data (approx. 40 'useful' MB) is also an
issue. For those who remember my post about "reverse engeneering a PIR
motion detector" putting half-transparent picture of the the PCB traces over
the component side picture: This simple task (done at home) would turn out
exceptionally difficult at the 'technical' university because most of the
systems there do not have the appropriate software, and on those that do, it
would be a real pain. The government keeps reducing its monetary help
telling us that the university were much too over-equipped for years now.
There are increasing student protests (have a look at indymedia) and they
are certainly fully justified. And what concerns high schools, I still
remember a lesson with a South Asia map held together with duct tape showing
boundaries of states that no longer exist since the end of colonnialism and
the teacher explaining he had no newer one to offer because the only other
appropriate one was in use somewhere else. Nothing to do with computers, but
a nice example.

Seeing the examples above, one may think that German schools have pretty
much nothing. This is NOT true, please do not get a false idea. Basically
they have what is most needed, but from time to time we get to see a rather
incredible incident like the one above. These ones are not the average, but
tend to happen more often as time passes.

I agree with Dr. Anton Squeegee that the primary purpose of a school is to
teach the more basic skills, but I think that computers are a very good aid
in the 12th and 13th grade (of which the last one will soon no longer exist
since the high schools here will change the curriculum to squeeze everything
into a total of 12 years) when it comes to analysis and analytical geometry.
One really understands a sophisticated function better after seeing its
behaviour in a computer-generated graphic.

After all, it seems that many governments no longer care about proper
education, at least the USA is not the only country that suffers this fate.

Sincerely yours,

Dimitrij.
 
W

Watson A.Name - Watt Sun, Dark Remover

Jan 1, 1970
0
On Sat, 8 Nov 2003 09:24:11 -0800, Dr. Anton Squeegee

[snip]
____________________________________________________________
| |
| Computers are tools, not crutches. Let's keep it that way. |
|____________________________________________________________|

Marvelously put!

I agree. But it seems that the tools have to be faster, with more
memory, etc., just to run the current software, not to mention the
upcoming newer versions.

One of our techs ordered a batch of new PCs for his CAD/CAM lab, with
21" CRTs. The hotshots in Accounting, in order to save money,
decided that the order didn't need to spend so much money on that
large a CRT, so they substituted a smaller size.

The order came in, and it was found that the smaller CRTs didn't have
high enough res to run the current software. So the hotshots had to
eat crow and order the next batch of PCs with the high res CRTs, and
swap them with the lower res CRTs in the CAD/CAM lab.

The clueless hotshots could've read the original purchase request,
which said that the larger CRTs were needed to run the software, and
to not make substitutions. Doh.

So the hotshots in accounting, in their zealous bean counting, might
be thought of as building early obsolescence into the PCs. Just
another example of your tax dollars in action.
...Jim Thompson


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J

Jim Thompson

Jan 1, 1970
0
On Sat, 8 Nov 2003 09:24:11 -0800, Dr. Anton Squeegee

[snip]
____________________________________________________________
| |
| Computers are tools, not crutches. Let's keep it that way. |
|____________________________________________________________|

Marvelously put!

I agree. But it seems that the tools have to be faster, with more
memory, etc., just to run the current software, not to mention the
upcoming newer versions.

One of our techs ordered a batch of new PCs for his CAD/CAM lab, with
21" CRTs. The hotshots in Accounting, in order to save money,
decided that the order didn't need to spend so much money on that
large a CRT, so they substituted a smaller size.

The order came in, and it was found that the smaller CRTs didn't have
high enough res to run the current software. So the hotshots had to
eat crow and order the next batch of PCs with the high res CRTs, and
swap them with the lower res CRTs in the CAD/CAM lab.

The clueless hotshots could've read the original purchase request,
which said that the larger CRTs were needed to run the software, and
to not make substitutions. Doh.

So the hotshots in accounting, in their zealous bean counting, might
be thought of as building early obsolescence into the PCs. Just
another example of your tax dollars in action.
...Jim Thompson

Watt Sun, Bad positioning of follow-up post... inserting your comments
between my comments and my name. Many might think I said what, in
fact, you said.

...Jim Thompson
 
R

Richard Crowley

Jan 1, 1970
0
Watson A.Name" wrote ...
So the hotshots in accounting, in their zealous bean counting, might
be thought of as building early obsolescence into the PCs. Just
another example of your tax dollars in action.

Hapened even at my employer (Intel) on a corporate-wide scale.
While our marketing people were out there showing how spending
a bit more would lengthen the useful lifetime of a PC, our own
bean counters were cheaping us out for our internal computers.
There are still people waiting for the "PC refresh" cycle to get
upggraded from Pentium(TM) 2 machines running at a few hundred
MHz.
Fortunately, they have seen the light and the new machnes are
pretty high-end.
 
H

Harry Conover

Jan 1, 1970
0
Richard Crowley said:
Hapened even at my employer (Intel) on a corporate-wide scale.
While our marketing people were out there showing how spending
a bit more would lengthen the useful lifetime of a PC, our own
bean counters were cheaping us out for our internal computers.
There are still people waiting for the "PC refresh" cycle to get
upggraded from Pentium(TM) 2 machines running at a few hundred
MHz.

You poor bastard! :)

I'm sitting here on the net while I have 4 other windows going doing
everything from PC board layouts to Photoshop renderings to a color
printer driver running full blast, all while supporting a LAN. Yet I'm
running on a 200-Mhz pentium pro, 128M RAM, and a Windoze 95 operating
system which is providing acceptable response time.

I probably would have a problem concurrently running the latest
whiz-bang computer game, but I became bored with computer games back
around 1975 when the novelty expired.

Then too, if you are working for Intel, you are working for a firm
whose CEO praises inefficient MIPS sucking software, without which new
products would find no market. Perhaps this is why you are allowed to
run MIPS sucking software and games in the workplace?

Harry C.
 
K

Keith R. Williams

Jan 1, 1970
0
You poor bastard! :)

Agreed! ...and this from a company that told the rest to equip
every engineer with a laptop because it was *free*. I guess
Intel doesn't make displays. ;-)
I'm sitting here on the net while I have 4 other windows going doing
everything from PC board layouts to Photoshop renderings to a color
printer driver running full blast, all while supporting a LAN. Yet I'm
running on a 200-Mhz pentium pro, 128M RAM, and a Windoze 95 operating
system which is providing acceptable response time.

My Win system at work is a laptop (remember Intel convinced us
all we needed them) with an attached 21" display (3200x1600
desktop). I also have a 21" display on a "workstation" accessible
by pivoting my chair 90 degrees. I guess Intel hasn't figured
out the "productivity" they've been harping on. ;-)
I probably would have a problem concurrently running the latest
whiz-bang computer game, but I became bored with computer games back
around 1975 when the novelty expired.

'75, naw. The last game I got enthraled with was Adventure on
the original PC (I know it was far older). I did many quarters
worth of Asteroids, Pong, and ICBMs (whatever it was called) in
bars. The home-computer stuff simply didn't make it, AFAIC.
Then too, if you are working for Intel, you are working for a firm
whose CEO praises inefficient MIPS sucking software, without which new
products would find no market. Perhaps this is why you are allowed to
run MIPS sucking software and games in the workplace?

It seems that his CEO is talking out two sides of the mouth.

If Intel_customer ; We gotta make a distinction
then Hardware := productive ; Sales good
else Hardware := expense ; Costs bad
end if; ; Don't tell customer that
; that we don't believe
; even own propaganda
 
R

Richard Crowley

Jan 1, 1970
0
"Keith R. Williams" wrote ...
Agreed! ...and this from a company that told the rest to equip
every engineer with a laptop because it was *free*. I guess
Intel doesn't make displays. ;-)

They buy them just like everyone else. The increase in productivity
more than makes up for the extra cost. I was amazed at the freedom
of being able to do work in meetings, in the cafeteria, on the plane,
etc. and not being tied to my cubicle.
My Win system at work is a laptop (remember Intel convinced us
all we needed them) with an attached 21" display (3200x1600
desktop). I also have a 21" display on a "workstation" accessible
by pivoting my chair 90 degrees. I guess Intel hasn't figured
out the "productivity" they've been harping on. ;-)

Office ergonimics is a bit beyond selling microprocessors (or even
computers) don't you think?
 
H

Harry Conover

Jan 1, 1970
0
Richard Crowley said:
"Keith R. Williams" wrote ...

They buy them just like everyone else. The increase in productivity
more than makes up for the extra cost. I was amazed at the freedom
of being able to do work in meetings...

What about the overall loss to the productivity of the meeting while
you're sitting there dorking with your laptop? I'm quite serious in
asking this.

During my years at Raytheon and GRS, meetings were called for a
purpose, and it took one's full attention to remain abreast about what
was ongoing at the meeting if one was to make a constructive comment.
Of course today I suppose that that's now considered 'old school'.
in the cafeteria, on the plane,
etc. and not being tied to my cubicle.

Right, and I can only imagine the creative and productive ispirations
that transpire and demand immediate computer attention in such
environments!
Office ergonimics is a bit beyond selling microprocessors (or even
computers) don't you think?

Of course it is...every professonal realizes that it borders on totall
bullshit rivaling that of even teleconferencing! It's possibly a
reason why productivity and innovation has gradually come to a
complete stand-still in this country over the past 15 or so years.

This is because, in many reorganized and new firms, employees are more
focused on insignificant cosmetic details than on addressing the more
difficult real issues.


Harry C.
 
R

Richard Crowley

Jan 1, 1970
0
"Harry Conover" wrote ...
What about the overall loss to the productivity of the meeting while
you're sitting there dorking with your laptop? I'm quite serious in
asking this.

Likely similar across the worldwide corporation, but the groups I
have worked in are pretty no-nonsense. You are expected to excuse
youself from even attending a meeting unless your presense is really
necessary. And your continued employment is dependent on your
latest Ranking and Rating, no matter your position or senority.

And I have increasingly observed meetings where real-time laptop
access to backup information is REQUIRED in order to conduct the
meeting. (For example, complex coordination meetings involving
dozens of separate groups.)
During my years at Raytheon and GRS, meetings were called for a
purpose, and it took one's full attention to remain abreast about what
was ongoing at the meeting if one was to make a constructive comment.
Of course today I suppose that that's now considered 'old school'.

Business moves faster than that today. And deals with a great deal
more information as well. In some cases, information that changes
even DURING the meeting.
Right, and I can only imagine the creative and productive ispirations
that transpire and demand immediate computer attention in such
environments!

Half the meetings I attend are held in the cafeteria. Wireless
networking throughout the campus. Try to think outside the old box.
Of course it is...every professonal realizes that it borders on totall
bullshit rivaling that of even teleconferencing! It's possibly a
reason why productivity and innovation has gradually come to a
complete stand-still in this country over the past 15 or so years.

This is because, in many reorganized and new firms, employees are more
focused on insignificant cosmetic details than on addressing the more
difficult real issues.

Sorry, I can't figure out what you are trying to say here.
But here's hoping you are feeling better soon.
 
C

CWatters

Jan 1, 1970
0
This is an issue I have a hard time with. On the one
hand, do we really want to devote precious school time to teaching
video editing and the latest cool apps? It seems today's
kids have trouble just learning Readin, Ritin, and Rithmetic.
Maybe they could learn Photoshop in college, say?

The point is that if you only use computers in schools to teach kids about
computers you are missing out on the main benefits. There is a lot of
educational software designed to teach other subjects (geography, history,
maths etc). But they can also have unexpected effects...

There was a trial some years back in the UK that gave a few laptops to
schools to see what impact they would have. One school gave their laptop to
the most disruptive pupil so he could take it home etc. They fully expected
it to come back in bits. To their surprise it transformed the kid. He
quickly became the class "expert" that other kids turned to for advice. His
whole attitude changed as he no longer had to cause trouble to get
attention.
 
J

Jim Thompson

Jan 1, 1970
0
The point is that if you only use computers in schools to teach kids about
computers you are missing out on the main benefits. There is a lot of
educational software designed to teach other subjects (geography, history,
maths etc). But they can also have unexpected effects...

There was a trial some years back in the UK that gave a few laptops to
schools to see what impact they would have. One school gave their laptop to
the most disruptive pupil so he could take it home etc. They fully expected
it to come back in bits. To their surprise it transformed the kid. He
quickly became the class "expert" that other kids turned to for advice. His
whole attitude changed as he no longer had to cause trouble to get
attention.

He was probably bored out of his skull until he had his hands on a
computer.

...Jim Thompson
 
R

Richard Crowley

Jan 1, 1970
0
...
"Jim Thompson" wrote ...
He was probably bored out of his skull until he had
his hands on a computer.

I suspect a lot of us can identify with that phenomenon first-hand!
 
H

Harry Conover

Jan 1, 1970
0
Richard Crowley said:
"Harry Conover" wrote ...

Likely similar across the worldwide corporation, but the groups I
have worked in are pretty no-nonsense. You are expected to excuse
youself from even attending a meeting unless your presense is really
necessary. And your continued employment is dependent on your
latest Ranking and Rating, no matter your position or senority.

Richard, in the real world of firms that are really goal and
accomplishment oriented, your required presence at important meetings
has nothing whatsoever to do with "your latest Ranking and Rating, no
matter your position or seniority". In every firm I have worked for
during the past 40 years, ranking and ratings have zero significance
except to the HR department and sometimes payroll. At both Kodak and
Raytheon, ratings and ranking were largely a measure of someone's
popularity and political connect -- They had absolutely nothing to do
with an individuals productivity and ability to contribute.

Well managed firms know this, and exploit it. Often, very often, you
realize that the person with the incite is a person who is often very
unpopular with both his peers and his manager. I once worked for a man
who was arguably the most hated and despised person in the firm, but
because his projects always were completed on time and made higher
than average profits for the firm, was respected by everyone that
worked for him for this!

When I worked under him, I quickly learned that to accomplish any goal
at a meeting (which ostensibly is called for such a purpose), you
invite as key participants those people that you persoanlly know can
make useful contributions to the meeting's agenda and goal. It always
worked for me, even though some of these meetings involved a great
deal of "plain talk", personal insults and often foul language.

Of course committee managed firms don't approve of this, which sooner
or later will be recognized as one of their fundamental flaws.

Harry C.
 
K

Keith R. Williams

Jan 1, 1970
0
rcrowley7 said:
"Keith R. Williams" wrote ...

They buy them just like everyone else. The increase in productivity
more than makes up for the extra cost. I was amazed at the freedom
of being able to do work in meetings, in the cafeteria, on the plane,
etc. and not being tied to my cubicle.

I was simply twitting you about Intel's goals. They told
everyone that professionals should have the best tools, since
they were paid for by productivity. Indeed at one IDF they
stated that a high[end laptop paid for itself (was "free") if the
user did an additional two hours of work a month.

....yet you have crappy displays. ;-) ...which IMO are far more
important that a nice laptop.
Office ergonimics is a bit beyond selling microprocessors (or even
computers) don't you think?

Not ergonomics at all (though that is important too). It's all
about function. I have three monitors on my desk, two on my
laptop and one on my *IX box. My point is that Intel must not
believe what it says about productivity. Cobbler's shoes, and
all... BTDT.
 
R

R. Steve Walz

Jan 1, 1970
0
Baphomet said:
Footing the Bill for the Computer Lab

November 6, 2003
By JEFFREY SELINGO

New York Times

FOR Nancy Couto, the director of technology for the Armada
school district in suburban Detroit, walking into a
computer lab at the high school is like stepping back in
time. There, beat-up machines still run Windows 95 and
barely chug along on 120-megahertz processors and 16
megabytes of memory, a tiny fraction of what even the most
basic new desktop comes with these days.
------------
But which most people will come home to, you ass.

Most people WITH computers are using second and third HAND computers!

We should spend the money teaching them HOW to USE them, NOT on the
whiz-bang that less than the privileged 2% of us use to do high-end
bullshit and download movies/burn DVD's the fastest!

Let them learn Photoshop on a few of their weekends, teach them to
READ, WRITE and do MATH and ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY HANDS ON WITH
REAL TOOLS AND ROBOTIC INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT! THAT will do them a LOT
more good than learning fucking Photoshop so they can, duh: "get rich
doing web-graphics"!! We have too many unskilled drones in this culture
who only know how to USE high-end tools superficially without knowing
how anything works so they can actually innovate new technology! Teach
them how to build a house, wire a house, how to repair a car, fix their
VCR, automate their home, that will do them a lot more fucking good
than computers at school that will download porn twice as fast and never
get to!!!

-Steve
 
J

Jim Thompson

Jan 1, 1970
0
On Thu, 13 Nov 2003 22:07:56 -0500, Keith R. Williams

[snip]
Not ergonomics at all (though that is important too). It's all
about function. I have three monitors on my desk, two on my
laptop and one on my *IX box. My point is that Intel must not
believe what it says about productivity. Cobbler's shoes, and
all... BTDT.

I did a lot of stuff for Intel (USB and Firewire) before they decided,
about two years ago, that they could do without outside help.

I was always amazed at the archaic systems they had for doing
simulations... their proprietary simulator drove me nuts... butt slow
and with an interface from hell.

I often would drive home (~20 minutes), run the simulation on PSpice,
and then go back to Intel with the answer... often they would still be
trying to get their simulator to converge.

...Jim Thompson
 
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